Jingle bells, reindeer food, gingerbread cookies slathered with frosting and a visit from St. Nick marked the second annual town of Milton children's holiday party.
More than 100 kids and parents filled the spacious town community center Friday, Dec. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. Town board members helped children at craft tables, and town Supervisor Frank Thompson stood on stage to read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
"This is one of the best events we can do for families each year," said Thompson, sitting by the door to welcome many people he knew by name. "This is a way to give back to the taxpayers."
Children strung bells and beads on necklaces to give their moms for Christmas, made candy canes out of pipe cleaners, and slopped green frosting on cookies shaped like angels and snowflakes. Most of the cookies didn't make it out the door to home. Crayons were provided for little ones to write letters to Santa, which were then rolled up into cute tubes to hide from their parents.
"It's a secret," said Abigail Mann of Milton, 6. "I don't want anyone but Santa and his elves to know what I want."
Ethan Campbell, 9, with his brother Owen, 6, was willing to share what he wrote on his letter to Santa.
"I asked for a raccoon Webkin," said Ethan. "It's like a computer pet but you can hold it and talk to it. I have real pets, but this one might be easier."
To lure in reindeer, kids bagged a tantalizing, sparkly mix of Cheerios, birdseed, dried oatmeal and glitter.
"You throw it all over your backyard and when the reindeer see it, they come to your house," said Tyler Ross of Malta, 7. "You just have to make sure they don't get too full to fly away."
A talented balloon artist made unseasonable but adorable creations including orange and white roosters, monkeys in banana trees, green frogs and crocodiles.
Around 7 p.m., Santa entered the room with hearty ho-ho-hos. Kids scrambled into a makeshift line to receive wrapped gifts they were allowed to immediately open, including teddy bears, Nerf footballs, Pirates of the Caribbean puzzles and airplanes powered by rubber bands.
"This was a great night for kids, and now they're exhausted and ready for bed," said Joanne Mosher of Milton. "That's the way we like them.""